Teen with memory loss made 'honorary' builder at Ipswich Hospital

16-year-old Fred in his Ipswich hospital bed, wearing a hard hat and high vis jacket

Fred can see the new Breast Care Centre being built from his hospital room on the seventh floor - Credit: ESNEFT

Builders at Ipswich Hospital have made 16-year-old Fred an honorary part of the team, after a mystery illness prompted the teen to lose his memories. 

Three weeks ago, Fred Hart from Capel St Mary fell ill and was admitted to hospital with memory loss. 

As clinical teams worked to understand what was wrong with the teen, Fred began taking an interest in the goings-on outside his hospital room on the seventh floor.

Fred, his mum, and builders Brian and Archie standing in the window frames of the new Breast Care Centre building

Fred at the new Breast Care Centre, with his mum Claire and Beardwell’s Brian and Archie - Credit: ESNEFT

His room overlooks the site on which the new Breast Care Centre is being built, and Fred found himself fascinated with the work being done - even going for a visit. 

Brian Knight, project manager for construction company Beardwell, said that the youngster popped by regularly to say hello and was now an "honorary part of the team". 

He added: "We've given Fred his own hi-vis jacket and hard hat.  

"Fred is going to write a note and we will bury it like a time capsule underground. 

"It's great - we hope we are helping him. We certainly like having him around." 

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Before his illness, Fred busied himself playing football, video games and studying for his exams at school. 

Now he spends his time using sticky notes to write large-scale messages for the team of builders seven floors below him - 'Happy Easter' is the current greeting.

Fred at his hospital window with his hard hat and high vis jacket and sticky notes spelling 'Happy Easter' on the window

Fred uses sticky notes to send his greetings to the builders seven floors below him - Credit: ESNEFT

Speaking about what sparked his interest, Fred said: "I looked out of the window from the hospital and saw the builders and thought I wanted to find out more about what's going on. I like building and I've lots of questions." 

Housekeepers, porters and the coffee shop staff are also new-found friends for the 16-year-old, with his mum Claire describing everyone involved in her son's care as "amazing" and "so kind". 

Claire continued: "Fred is so positive about what's around him.  

"He's discovering things for the first time again, and he's full of joy.  

"Everyone we meet in hospital is helping with that.  

"We've been into the building site for a walk around now it's safe - Fred is standing on the very concrete he's watched them lay." 

Clinical teams are working hard to investigate and care for Fred's mystery illness.